The Urban School Alumni Association BLUESNOTES
blues notes
March 11, 2014 facebook linkedIn twitter vimeo
Alumni Parent Ted Congdon (May '13), Managing Principal of Granite Peak Advisors, shares some tips about how Urban alums can maximize their alumni connections with LinkedIn.

"LinkedIn is the pre-eminent professional social media platform of our day. Although it may lack some of the dynamic interactivity of other social networking sites, LinkedIn has become an unparalled resource for all professionals. And with the growth of the LinkedIn group for Urban alumni and the LinkedIn Alumni tool, it's getting even more valuable for Urban grads."

To read more click here
Southern California Reunion
Saturday, May 10, from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Roof on Wilshire
Mark Salkind ('70), LeRoy Votto and Jonathan Howland invite our Southern California alums and their guests to join them and other Urban faculty and staff for a cocktail reception at the Fire Pit Lounge at The Roof on Wilshire atop The Hotel Wilshire. Enjoy an evening of relaxing conversation as you connect with faculty and friends old and new. If you are a SoCal alum and have not received an invite please send us your contact information.
RSVP by May 2 please. We are looking forward to seeing you!
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This
A night of 80s fun with fellow Urban friends at this year's Urban: We Got the Beat auction on Saturday, March 29 at 6 p.m., Bimbo's 365 Club. All proceeds benefit financial aid so channel your We Are The World spirit and support this important Urban program. Get stoked for this totally tubular event and dancing to Bowie tunes from The Jean Genies. Tickets are $75 for alums (21 and over, please) and get ready to Bust A Move at this awesome Urban evening for all our community members. Frankie Says to reserve your spot before March 21!
Alumni Networking Happy Hour
Whether you're just starting out or looking for what might be your next move, networking is always a crucial part of building a career. With that in mind, the Alumni Association is organizing a networking event focusing on career exploration that will take place on Thursday, June 5, from 6 - 7:30 p.m., venue TBD in SF. Alumni representing a variety of industries will be available to meet and offer advice. Look out for more information on this event.
Thank You to Our Alum Fundraising Leaders!
If you haven’t had a chance, we hope you take some time to read the inspiring letters from Alumni Annual Fund leaders Kate Jessup ('95) and Igor Zagatsky ('95) or Class Fund leaders Alyssa Mitchel ('11) and Jeanne McPhee ('09) about why they support Urban.

Thank you also to alum Kendra Bradanini ('12) for creating such a fantastic video in support of this year’s Annual Fund and our I Heart Urban campaign.

To make a gift to the 2013-14 Annual Fund please click here. For alums in the Classes of 2009 - 2013, click here to make or renew a gift to your Class Endowment Fund. 138 alums have supported Urban so far this year toward our goal of 250 donors. Alumni contributions go a long way here at Urban and your dollars, no matter the amount, can make a big difference to students and teachers at our school today and for years to come. Thank you!
from the alumni council

The mission of Urban's Alumni Association is to provide an inclusive, engaged community that reflects Urban's core values, inspiring life-long connections between alumni, students and faculty.

In response to feedback from our alumni community, we have been implementing ways for our alums to support each other and current students in the area of career and professional development. Last month we launched a new Alumni Lunchtime Speaker Series and welcomed alum Luke Harrington ('93) to speak to students about his career path as a working artist and Art Director for Electronic Arts. In December, Alexis Thacker ('01) came to talk to our film students about her career as a producer of independent films. The students enjoyed these visits and we look forward to planning more opportunities for students and alums to connect.

We invite you to strengthen your connections with each other and help create a stronger Urban community. Please check out the new Networking section of our website and join our LinkedIn group (be sure to include Urban as your high school in your LinkedIn profile so you can use the alumni tool). If you are interested in serving as an advisor or speaker for alums in career transition or for current Urban students please fill out this form to let us know more about you and your interests.

And if you haven't already, like our Facebook page for regular updates and fun photos.

We look forward to connecting with you this year!

Tara Wilson ('95)
Alumni Association President

alumni spotlight

Note: This article was first published in This Term at Urban, a publication for Urban alumni parents.

Ben, tell us a little about what you have been doing since you graduated from Urban in 2007 and what brought you back?
My senior year at Urban I fell in love with English—it was reading American Romanticism (especially Moby Dick) and then Russian Literature (Brothers Karamazov) that did it for me. I attended Brown and gravitated toward literature and ended up studying Comparative Literature. By the end of my sophomore year I became pretty certain I wanted to teach literature as a career. I did a teaching program that summer, and by my senior year I started hunting for teaching jobs at independent high schools.

(at left: Ben in Jazz Band October 2006)

I got really lucky: the one school that even looked at my resume was in New Orleans, where (because I'm also a jazz musician) I was eager to live. After some persistence, I got the job. I taught there for two years, teaching high school English and also serving as a diversity coordinator. I was very happy there, but when Jonathan told me there was an opening at Urban, I knew I had to apply for the job. The attraction was obvious: Urban as an institution shares my values (partially because I was molded there); the teachers I'd be working with were the ones who "ignited my passion for learning," and I'd been modeling my lessons off my memories of their classes; and the students—as I was reminded in my visit—were not just bright and hard-working, but earnestly, personally invested in learning and growing.

Has Urban changed since you were a student here?
Are things the same?

The changes that I see are more a matter of perspective: being a student and then being a teacher. The actual changes are small in comparison to the changes when I was a student here. Between my sophomore and junior year the school expanded into the new building, adding a cafeteria and a dedicated music room.

I've noticed that the attitude around sports has changed a bit. Athletes seem to take more pride in their sports and teams, which is probably a good thing. I played soccer and remember how we felt a little inferior to the stronger teams and felt tempted not to take pride/ownership in response to losing. That said, I'm glad I got to play an important role on the team; if I had gone to Urban now, with its stronger program, I wouldn't have been able to help the team much.

Almost all the teachers I remember are still here, and I think the educational values are the same. The teaching, at least in English, where we're collaborating more on sharing lessons, giving consistent instruction, and tinkering with the curriculum as a team, may even be better—especially now that I'm teaching! (Obviously I'm kidding.)

What is your favorite place to eat on Haight Street?
Ploy II—it's a Thai restaurant upstairs in a Victorian house.

alumni events
LA Reunion
Saturday, May 10, 2014
6 - 8 p.m.
The Roof on the Wilshire atop The Wilshire Hotel
RSVP by May 2 please.
Urban: We Got the Beat
Auction for Financial Aid

Saturday, March 29, 2014
6 p.m.
Bimbos 365 Club
1/2 price tickets for alums!
Alumni Networking
Happy Hour

Thursday, June 5, 2014
6 - 7:30 p.m.
Venue TBD
Interested in representing your industry? Email us.
student news
Spring Music Concert
Sunday, May 4, 2014
5 p.m.
JCC Kanbar Theater
One Acts Festival
Thursday, May 22 - Saturday, May 31, check for times Gumption Theater
New job? New baby? Bumped into an old friend or teacher? We love hearing from you! Email us your class notes for the spring BluesNotes. Pictures welcome!
It has come to our attention that the Post Office misplaced a batch of mail for Urban at the end of December, and as a result, some donations were never received. If you mailed Urban a donation in December and have not yet received an acknowledgement could you please let us know? It is possible that the Post Office lost your gift. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. Thank you everyone for your support!
photos and fun stuff
click here for pictures of recent events
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urban For questions about BluesNotes or other alumni communications please email us.





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